On the 10th, KT WIZ’s home stadium, Katie Wiz Park in Suwon, hosted the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) Korean Series for the first time ever.
KT, which entered the Korean Series to compete for the top spot in the KBO, will challenge the LG Twins for its second championship in two years.
KT previously won the combined regular season and Korean Series title in 2021.
However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the postseason started in November, and due to the cold weather, all games of the Korean Series were played at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul.
So it was at Gocheok Sky Dome that the team lifted the first championship trophy in franchise history, beating the Doosan Bears.
It was actually last year’s semi-finals that KT, an “emerging powerhouse” that made it to fall baseball for the fourth consecutive year, played a postseason game at home for the first time.
The 2020 playoffs, their first postseason appearance, were all held at the Gocheok Sky Dome.
Despite the significance of hosting the first Korean Series, there were no placards or sculptures around Katie Wise Park to mark the occasion.
This is because the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO), not the home team, organizes postseasons like the Korean Series.
Instead, KT invited a special guest to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
Cho Bum-hyun, the first manager of the team, and Han Yoo-joon, a key player in the 2021 championship, were invited to pitch and hit, respectively.
The catcher who received the pitch from Cho was Jang Jang-woo, the 2021 “winning catcher,” who still serves as the starting center fielder.
While the KBO selects the pitcher for the Korean Series, the KT organization recommended Cho and Han to the KBO.
In fact, when Katie Wise Park was known as Suwon Baseball Stadium, it hosted Korean Series games.
The Hyundai Unicorns called it home from 2000 to 2007, and Game 2 of the 2004 Korean Series against the Samsung Lions on October 22 was the last Korean Series to be played at Suwon Baseball Stadium.
However, it is difficult to find any traces of the Suwon Baseball Stadium today, as KT underwent extensive renovations after choosing Suwon as its hometown.
The 17,600 seats for today’s game were announced sold out around 2 p.m., well before the 6:30 p.m. start time.
After being squeezed between LG fans in Game 1 and Game 2 of the Korean Series at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul, KT fans were not outnumbered on this day.
Thirty minutes into the game, the stands on the first base side of the field were full, but the third base side of the field was empty as LG fans had not yet arrived from Seoul.
“It means a lot to be able to play the Korean Series at home,” said KT fan Im Seo-yoon, who traveled from Pyeongtaek to watch the game. “The weather is very cold, and I hope the players do their best without making mistakes and getting injured.”
Another KT fan, Lee Chul-hoo, said, “In the first game, I felt lonely because there were many LG fans in the away seats. Today, I will cheer for our players so that they don’t feel lonely,” he smiled.
“It’s unfortunate that only two games of the Korean Series were played in Suwon this year, but next year I would like to see the first and second games (of the regular season) in Suwon,” he added. 토토사이트